LAHORE - As many as 17 of the 22 most-wanted terrorists named by provincial authorities belong to Punjab. These are the men who masterminded several suicide attacks not only in Punjab but also in other parts of the country.
They are key members of Al-Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) of Maulana Masood Azhar group, according to Punjab’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).
Among the most-wanted terrorists are three residents of Attock district who had planned and executed the suicide attack on Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada. The provincial minister along with 16 others was killed in a bomb attack on his political office in his native town in August 2015.
Recently, the CTD compiled and released the ‘Red Book’ with names, photos and particulars of the most-wanted militants. The provincial government has already announced bounty in millions on the arrest (alive or dead) of all these key terrorists.
The Red Book’s revelations could be an eye-opener for policymakers in the province at a time when a large-scale military-led operation is underway to “catch and kill” the militants and their facilitators in different parts of Punjab.
The data and particulars of the most-wanted terrorists indicated that the TTP, an umbrella organisation primarily belonging to north-western tribal areas along Afghanistan, gained significant support from religious elements in Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Sargodha and Rawalpindi districts of the province.
According to the CTD record, the men from Punjab were found involved in the suicide attacks on police, ISI headquarters, important personalities and shrines during the last decade.
Security and counter-terrorism experts believe the ‘local elements’ provided key support to the terrorist outfits in planning and executing attacks in Punjab, hundreds of miles away from their Waziristan bastion. Following is list of the 22 most-wanted terrorists involved in several deadly attacks reported across the province during the last decade.
Matiur Rahman, 41, hails from Bahawalpur district and is an active commander of the TTP. The terrorist is said to be involved in suicide attack on former President Pervez Musharraf and carries Rs10 million bounty on his head.
Qari Ahsan-ul-Haq, 36, is an important LeJ commander and is the second most-wanted man on the CTD list. He also hails from Bahawalpur district and carries Rs5 million head-money. Haq is wanted for suicide bomb attack on ISI (Headquarter) Faisalabad and assassination bids on ex-president Musharraf and ex-PM Shaukat Aziz.
Rana Muhammad Afzal, 44, belongs to Kabirwala town of Khanewal district and is said to be a leading member of the JeM (Masood Azhar group). According to official record, Afzal had developed links with important Arab fighters of al-Qaeda and carries Rs5 million head-money.
Zia-ur-Rehman, 29, is also from Kabirwala and is wanted to the police in connection with the terror attack on ISI offices in Multan.
Zubair alias Mugheera, 31, hails from Uch Sharif town of Bahawalpur district and is wanted in the suicide attack on ISI headquarter in Multan. The government had announced Rs2.5 million as reward on his capture (alive or dead).
Muhammad Tayyab Jameel, 41, with Rs2 million head-money belongs to Chack 74-South of Sargodha district. He is a leading TTP commander and, according to CTD record, he is living somewhere in Waziristan. He had masterminded bomb attacks on PTS Sargodha and PAF buses.
Qari Muhammad Yasin, 50, is from Kahror Pakka area of Lodhran district. He is a key militant of the Amjad Farooqi group. Yasin, with Rs2 million bounty on his head, masterminded the bomb attack on ISI headquarter in Rawalpindi. The CTD record says this man is also involved in the recent bomb attacks in the country.
Abdul Hameed Mayo, 34, belongs to Narang Mandi area of Sheikhupura district. He was behind the suicide attacks on policemen near GPO and Naval War College in Lahore. The government has announced Rs1 million head-money for this TTP commander.
Bilal alias Abdul Rahim, 27, hails from Sargodha district. He is also a TTP commander and carries Rs1 million bounty on his head. Ahmad alias Sharif, 28, is from DG Khan and is wanted to security forces in connection with the suicide attack on the shrine of Sakhi Sarwar. Ahmed, having Rs1 million bounty on him, is affiliated with the TTP.
Muhammad Abdullah: A 27-year-old resident of Uch Sharif Bahawalpur is wanted to the security forces in connection with the suicide attack on ISI headquarter in Multan. With Rs500,000 head-money, Abdullah is a member of the TTP (Qari Ubaid Ullah group).
Salman Dar alias Shani: A 35-year-old resident of Rawalpindi is an active member of the TTP. The government had announced Rs500,000 on his capture.
Muhammad Ijaz: A 35-year-old resident of Wah cantonment, Rawalpindi, is affiliated with TTP (Baitullah Mahsood). The terrorist with Rs 500,000 head-money is a close ally of Qari Hussain.
Munir Dar: A 28-year-old resident of Rawalpindi district is affiliated with al-Qaeda and TTP. He had prepared three explosive-laden vehicles to carry out suicide attacks.
Hafiz Muhammad Sohail, Muhammad Niaz, and Zaheer Ahmed are the residents of Attock district. They are wanted to the police and security forces in connection the terror attack on Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzad. They are identified as members of the TTP.